Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Clive Barker's Thief

Yesterday's find: The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.
As a teenager I read some horror... what teenager doesn't! I was never a complete captive to the genre but I remember the feeling of 'graduation' the day that I discovered Clive Barker and moved from Stephen King's slightly 'clean-cut' all-American horror into Barker's dirty, gritty, mythogical and demonic worlds. I devoured The Books of Blood, Imajica, Weaveworld, The Great and Secret Show... and then, at some point at the end of my teens I just stopped reading horror and so, even though Barker seemed to be progressing into broader themes I stopped reading Barker too. Except for The Thief of Always, a book which was ostensibly aimed at a slightly younger audience than I was at the time and a slightly younger reader than for other Barker books. It is the most exquisite of stories and no less horrific for being aimed younger. Of course there's nothing in the least overtly erotic about the book and yet, is was darkly and tantalisingly erotic in the way that only some genuinely scary tales and fables can be.

And the thing which just tops it off is the illustrations by Barker himself. He's a talented guy; I don't think he's a great artist, but he is an excellent illustrator. In one of these illustrations if a creature or person is screaming then they are really screaming.

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